Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems: separating funds in college

If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s spend money, often in places I shouldn’t. I’ve had a debit card since I was a freshman in high school, and in order to support my shopping and Whole Foods addictions, I’ve had multiple streams of income for years. College has become a new ballgame for keeping my finances together, a lot more needs to be paid and I also have money coming from new places. A big “adulting” life hack I recommend to college students is separating your finances, both for your own organization and to help your mom know that your book money isn’t becoming bar money.

I have two debit cards and two checking accounts, one entitled “College Checking.” In this account, what’s deposited is my eRefund money from the school, paychecks from my campus job, and Venmo charges that apply to school-related expenses. I use this account / card to pay rent, buy groceries and textbooks, buy household items, etc, anything related to being at college. In my other general checking account goes my paychecks from my other non-campus jobs, birthday money, etc. I use this card for online shopping, Uber, nights out, and anything else that I deem undeserving of my school allotted funds.

It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s been really helpful for me to have two checking accounts for everyday use. For one, it keeps me responsible with my financial aid funds and campus paychecks, so my rent money doesn’t end up going towards new clothes. If I receive funds for one purpose, I know they’ll go towards that purpose. Since most of us have parents who oversee our schooling and at least some of our finances, it helps show my parents I’m being responsible with my different streams of money too.

It’s a small step, having two accounts and two debit cards, but it’s helped me stay organized and responsible with my money, and it’s also a good easy stepping stone into “adulting,” since as we get older we have more and more things to pay for, more financing, multiple credit cards, etc. If you don’t already separate your funds, you definitely should as a college student!

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